He has been with Unilever since 1977 and was appointed UK chairman in July 2004.
He has also held various posts in France and South Africa
On his appointment, Neath said: “It is an honour to be asked to represent the food and drink manufacturing industry, the largest manufacturing sector in the UK. Britain’s food and drink producers - along with the whole food chain - face many challenges at the moment and FDF has a key role in helping us address these.”
He added: “Food and drink, as a social, economic and even political issue, will continue to have a high profile over the coming years, in particular as we work through the implications of the Department of Health’s recent Public Health White Paper.”